Huron Playschool Cooperative

What's on the Walls at Playschool?

Remember back in September when the walls were bare? Well, now they're covered with paintings, and collages, and glitter, and sparkles, and it makes the entire classroom so familiar and warm. 

Party Cakes

Art

Together

Happy New Year!

Kids in the sand

Winter itself has gone into hibernation, so we've been playing in the sand in our snowsuits this week. Never let it be said that we are afraid to mix things up at Huron Playschool. 

Hope everyone had a terrific holiday and welcome back to school. 

Happy Holidays

Thanks to everybody who came out to our holiday crepe party/fundraiser on December 4. We had terrific fun, ate delicious food, and raised more than $200 for playschool's programs. And now we're winding down with our last days of programs before the holidays. There have been lots of festive songs and books and activities, plus playing out in the snow, which seems seasonally appropriate. Looking forward to seeing everybody in the new year. 

Oh, Canada!

In the "Cool Things Playschool Parents Get Up To" file, check out Playschool Parent Xin (who is also our registrar) singing "Oh, Canada" in Mandarin as part of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Canada Mosaic "Our Shared Anthem" project, along with 11 other singers in Canada's most commonly spoken languages. You can see her video and all the others here. 

Good Times at Chipotle

Chipotle dinner

We're so grateful to Chipotle and to everyone who came out for dinner on Monday night—and there were so many of you! We were able to raise $322 to support playschool programs and—just as good—none of us had to make dinner. It was a terrific evening with playschool and alumni families visiting throughout, for take-out and also to take the opportunity to sit down and enjoy each other's company. We're all so lucky to be part of this excellent community. 

How to Dress Your Kids for Winter Weather

Kids in Snow

Winter is back! Okay, it's not as *back* as the above photo suggests; dont worry, the photo is from last year. But we've already had snow and the season is just getting started. And when it's cold outside, we still like to go out and play. And so if this is your family's first Canada winter, we've got some advice about how to dress your children warmly for winter weather so playing outside is still a lot of fun. 

1) A warm coat: The thicker the better. Warmer coats are often more expensive, but the cost can be worth it. And you can usually get a great deal by picking up coats second-hand. Check out Value Village or any kids clothing consignment store. 

2) Snowpants: These usually come with the winter coat, although you can also purchase them separately. Snowpants keep the wind out and mean that when children come in from outdoor play and peel off their layers, the clothes underneath are usually dry. 

3) Boots: A good pair of boots will keep toes warm and socks dry. Remember to bring indoor shoes for children to change into. 

4) Mittens: A good parenting tip I learned is to buy a whole bunch of cheap mittens and keep them in a basket. Children will spend all winter long losing one mitten and then the other, so it's always good to have some spares on hand. 

5) A Neckwarmer: More portable than a scarf and safer too, a neckwarm keeps the wind off one's collar. Not essential but nice to have. 

6) A Hat: There is a brief window in childhood (post baby and before preteen) in which children are actually willing to wear their winter hats. Take advantage of this with something that covers the ears. And with a hood pulled up over a warm hat, the child inside can expect to be snuggly warm. 

7) Finally, try to ensure that all roads lead to hot chocolate. With marshmallows. 

Our Chipotle fundraiser is coming up fast...

If you love playschool too, we hope you'll join us for our Chipotle Fundraiser this Monday, November 21. Come for dinner at Chipotle on Bloor Street West anytime between 3 and 10 pm, and if you let them know you're there to support playschool, 50% of what you spend will come back to us to support our programs. We are grateful to Chipotle for being such awesome neighbours, and we hope to see you all there. More details are here! 

Picture Books for a Better World

Plenty of parents have been asking themselves, "What am I going to tell my children?" over the past few days. Perhaps reading these stories is a good place to start. (And we recommend you pick up your copies at Parentbooks, which is in our neighbourhood and is a longstanding indie bookshop with a social justice bent.) 

Book Cover We All Count

We All Count, by Julie Flett

We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers is the 2014 board book from Native Northwest featuring the artwork of Cree/Métis artist Julie Flett. In this basic counting book from 1 to 10, this bilingual board book introduces Plains Cree (y-dialect) and Swampy Cree (n-dialect) written in Roman orthography. Artist and author has a simple graphic style using bold and clear text to introduce counting with appropriate cultural images from contemporary Cree society. An excellent introduction to counting to ten in Cree and English using authentic Cree imagery.

**

A Family is a Family is a Family, by Sara O'Leary and Qin Leng

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways—but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One has many stepsiblings, and another has a new baby in the family.

As her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation—the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, it is special.

**

A is for Activist, by Innosant Nagaro

A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.

The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents' values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

**

Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

**

Stepping Stones, by Margriet Ruurs and Nazir Ali Badr

This unique picture book was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, discovered by chance by Canadian children’s book writer Margriet Ruurs. The author was immediately captivated by the strong narrative quality of Mr. Badr’s work, and, using many of Mr. Badr’s already-created pieces, she set out to create a story about the Syrian refugee crisis. Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama and her mother, father, grandfather and brother, Sami, set out to walk to freedom in Europe. Nizar Ali Badr’s stunning stone images illustrate the story.

**

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, by Danielle Daniel

In this introduction to the Anishinaabe tradition of totem animals, young children explain why they identify with different creatures such as a deer, beaver or moose. Delightful illustrations show the children wearing masks representing their chosen animal, while the few lines of text on each page work as a series of simple poems throughout the book.

In a brief author’s note, Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can also act as animal guides for young children seeking to understand themselves and others.

**

Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

Barbara Cooney's story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.

**

The Body Book, by Roz MacLean

Look at your body,
And learn to say,
Every body is different,
And that's okay.

Big or small,
Short or tall,
The Body Book
Is fun for all!

The Body Book helps kids learn to love their bodies while recognizing and celebrating how every body is different!

**

The Stone Thrower, by Jael Ealey Richardson and Matt James

The African-American football player Chuck Ealey grew up in a segregated neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio. Against all odds, he became an incredible quarterback. But despite his unbeaten record in high school and university, he would never play professional football in the United States.

Chuck Ealey grew up poor in a racially segregated community that was divided from the rest of town by a set of train tracks, but his mother assured him that he wouldn’t stay in Portsmouth forever. Education was the way out, and a football scholarship was the way to pay for that education. So despite the racist taunts he faced at all the games he played in high school, Chuck maintained a remarkable level of dedication and determination. And when discrimination followed him to university and beyond, Chuck Ealey remained undefeated.

**

 

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